International hospitality from Iceland to Bosnia
In the last couple of years, business and luxury hotels have gone to great lengths to fill their hallways, guest and dining rooms with works of art in a bid to make stays more memorable. And now they’re going one step further by offering tickets to exhibitions and collaborations with top galleries.
Take the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel chain. Its three central London properties are teaming up with the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington between 23 March and 28 July to offer accommodation, breakfast and tickets to the David Bowie Is exhibition, dedicated to the iconic musician.
Similarly, the popular business hotel, Crowne Plaza Canberra in Australia’s capital, has an offer for the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, available from now until 2 April when the show ends.
And if you check in to any one of the 19 Design Collection hotels in New York, you’ll get offers on art-focused events this January and February, including discounts to the city’s Museum of Arts and Design.
In Thailand, every three months a rotation of local artists mix their canvases with a vast 4,000-piece collection of contemporary Thai art hanging at the luxury Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok. “The challenge is to make the art look fresh and appeal to repeat visitors,” said Holger Schroth, general manager of the hotel.
The Alexander, a top-end hotel opening in Indianapolis, Indiana on 21 January, will feature paintings and installations curated by the impressive Indianapolis Museum of Art. Around 40 works by more than 20 contemporary artists, such as Paul Villinski, Jorge Pardo, Alyson Shotz and Mark Fox, have been installed, including 14 commissioned specifically for the opening.
The nearby Conrad Indianapolis opened an art gallery on its first floor in November 2012. The Long Sharp Gallery can be hired out as a space for business meetings and events, and also has an art experience program that brings works by such esteemed artists as Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso into the hotel’s public spaces, along with pieces by Indianapolis-area artists.
“The good thing is that it creates memories. A business leader will remember hosting a meeting among Picassos,” said Greg Tinsley, general manager of the hotel. “But it is sometimes difficult to gain respect and popularity as an artful destination when you are first thought of as a place to eat and sleep.”
That’s why St Martins Lane Hotel in central London has been hosting the Best Art Vinyl competition, where 50 eclectic sleeve designs of 2012 are on display. The award compiled global public votes online and the winner -- The Temper Traps with their self-titled LP with pictures of connections in a human brain -- was announced on 10 January.
“Good art, exhibition space and creative spaces allow hotels to have a different story or point of interest for their guests,” said Adam Shopkorn, cultural ambassador for the Morgans Hotel Group, who owns St Martins Lane Hotel “It’s challenging to break out of the standard exhibition formula and put on displays that are more interactive and less formulaic.”
And it is not just hotels; art is moving into other travel spaces, too. Next month Virgin Atlantic’s club lounges in London Heathrow and New York’s JFK and Newark airports will be hosting 11 bespoke pieces of art by prolific British street artist Ben Eine. There will also be a virtual art gallery, seen via in-flight-entertainment system, on flights between the two cities during the month of February, with videos about the artist and the creation of the pieces.